SOUTH BEND – Bishop Dwenger graduate Tony Springmann had to be patient when he arrived at Notre Dame a year ago.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore defensive lineman bulked up from between 260 and 265 pounds to between 290 and 295 pounds as he adjusted to college football while not playing any games as a freshman.
You basically have to relearn everything from high school. Its a totally different game, Springmann said.
Springmann had to be patient again in the offseason as he recovered from a discetomy to repair a bulging disc in his back.
He said the first two weeks after the surgery were the worst.
It was everything. Every movement, every second was pretty painful, said Springmann, who didnt participate in spring practice as he recovered.
Springmann said he was nervous going into the surgery, even though he saw his teammates – including fellow Dwenger grad and Irish tight end Tyler Eifert – come back well from it.
Its back surgery, so I was freaking out a little bit, Springmann said. Talking to the other guys, they all recovered and were playing the next year.
Springmann was ready to go by fall camp, and after a few nervous moments in the beginning, he was ready to contribute.
It was weird putting the pads on again and hitting someone, Springmann said. I was kind of nervous, seeing if it would kind of crumble. But it worked out all right.
Springmann has worked out all right as part of the Irishs defensive line rotation. He played in each of the first three games this year, recording five tackles and combining with cornerback Josh Atkinson on a sack last weekend in a 20-3 road win over Michigan State.
Springmann will be counted on again Saturday night when No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0) plays host to 18th-ranked Michigan (2-1), and his fellow lineman are glad he is there.
Tony is doing really well, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said. Hes a big guy. We call him Big Country.
Hes a fast learner, and he is giving us some positive production.